Women of the Northwest

Norma Hernandez: A Voice for the Latinx Community

April 14, 2024 Norma Hernandez Episode 92
Norma Hernandez: A Voice for the Latinx Community
Women of the Northwest
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Women of the Northwest
Norma Hernandez: A Voice for the Latinx Community
Apr 14, 2024 Episode 92
Norma Hernandez

Links: consejohispano

In this episode, Norma Hernandez shares her journey from Puerto Rico to the United States, settling in beautiful Astoria. Discover how Norma found a sense of belonging and community in the Northwest while working with Consejo Hispano, an organization focused on supporting the Latinx community. Norma discusses her role as deputy director and her passion for building a stronger community through educational programs, financial literacy classes, and cultural celebrations. Learn how you can get involved and support Consejo Hispano's mission of empowering Latinx individuals and families in the Northwest.

Subscribe to the Women of the Northwest podcast for inspiring stories and adventures.
Find me on my website: jan-johnson.com

Show Notes Transcript

Links: consejohispano

In this episode, Norma Hernandez shares her journey from Puerto Rico to the United States, settling in beautiful Astoria. Discover how Norma found a sense of belonging and community in the Northwest while working with Consejo Hispano, an organization focused on supporting the Latinx community. Norma discusses her role as deputy director and her passion for building a stronger community through educational programs, financial literacy classes, and cultural celebrations. Learn how you can get involved and support Consejo Hispano's mission of empowering Latinx individuals and families in the Northwest.

Subscribe to the Women of the Northwest podcast for inspiring stories and adventures.
Find me on my website: jan-johnson.com

[00:07] Jan: Are you looking for an inspiring listen, something to motivate you? You've come to the right place. Welcome to women of the northwest, where we have conversations with ordinary women leading extraordinary lives. Motivating, inspiring, compelling. Welcome, everyone, to women of the northwest. I have Norma Hernandez. I said Hernandez. She is. Here. We are sitting in my backyard in the sunshine, in beautiful Brownsmead, with little lambs out in the field and greenery and flowers starting to bloom. I mean, I tell you, it's looking pretty, right?

[00:49] Norma: It's looking gorgeous. This is the best decision to sit out here. I know.

[00:54] Jan: And just the fact that we can sit out here, that's pretty delightful. I think.

[00:58] Norma: It is. It is.

[00:59] Jan: So, Norma, tell me a little bit about yourself. You are a Puerto Rican.

[01:04] Norma: Yes.

[01:05] Jan: How did you end up, or why did you end up coming to the States?

[01:08] Norma: Oh, I took a little bit of a detour. Thank you so much for inviting me, Jan. This is awesome. Thank you so much for inviting me to your backyard. This is the best being here. So I was born and raised in Puerto Rico. I grew up in Rio Piedras, which is a part of old San Juan. And at 21, I moved to, like, every good Puerto Rican. You moved to New York? You know, New York is the biggest puerto rican town. So I moved there. I work with my uncle, had a property management business, and he owned several buildings, and I worked for him and went to Lehman College there. And I was there for five years. Then I had a sister living in Boston, and my parents were living in Boston at the time, helping her with her three kids. So I moved to Boston after five years. I loved Boston. I never thought I would leave that city. I thought that was a great, great city. And I lived there for 15 years. But then someone invited me to come to the northwest to visit.

[02:15] Jan: You're thinking all the way across the.

[02:17] Norma: United States in December, I saw the sun, I think, twice, maybe, and I was here for two and a half weeks, and I just loved it. And my friend and her husband are like, why are you coming now? You know, it's raining. And I'm like, give me the temperature number. And they say, well, it's in the forties. And I'm like, heat wave. It was like ten degrees in Boston. I don't care if it's raining. I'm like, come on, it is better than snow. It's better than snow and a lot warmer in my brain. And I came here and immediately fell in love with the town. And I happened to go to a Christmas party, and owners of a oyster company based in Washington actually offered me a job because the older staff was Latino and they didn't have anybody in management that spoke Spanish.

[03:12] Jan: So I started in my, oh, here's somebody.

[03:16] Norma: Here's somebody. And I went, I spent like 3 hours in that. We were on our way to Seattle, and I spent 3 hours interviewing and visiting the cannery and meeting people. And I left on January 3, and he offered me a job. And in February 6 I was back. And I've been here since then, and it's been over 21 years now I have lived here.

[03:44] Jan: You are a northwest person, I believe.

[03:47] Norma: And it's no community like Astoria. I have never felt more at home than in Astoria, as much as I love Puerto Rico and I go going on vacation. But Astoria is unique. It's what I really learned about resilience and community and about being a volunteer, about caring. And I don't know if this is an off topic for somebody, but this is what I met the most. Giving, empathetic people that they were not affiliated to any religion. I'm like, oh my God. I met the best atheist that I have ever. It was just something that everybody just really cared about their neighbor kindness, that he was just so much love. I learned that I had to go with a lot of time to the supermarket because it's not an in n out thing.

[04:51] Jan: And I used to go on every day together watching in.

[04:54] Norma: Yeah, it's not. You don't go in and out.

[04:57] Jan: Yeah.

[04:57] Norma: And I learned that if you say, how are you? People are going to tell you how they're doing. So you learn how to respect that and how to honor it. And it was like, oh, my God, I feel so at home here. And all my friends in the east coast and Puerto Rico, they had like a pool going. They were. Some of them gave me six months. Yeah. How long before you. Some of them gave me a year. And they realized that after two years, they're like, I don't think she's coming back. And then they started visiting and they're like, oh, I see. I see. Now I see what it is now I see the beauty. Now I know why you love. And when we went to all these different places and people were so accepting. And I have one of my friends that is like a sister, and she came with her daughter and they are puerto rican, but they're black. They are african american. And when I went with that child, she was like, I don't know, 1213 at the time. And we went to all these places. She thought she was going to be looked at, discriminated, and. Yeah. And then I could hear a phone call with her and her sister. She's like, oh, my God, everybody's so nice to me. And the sister is like, really better. Have you seen other people that look like you? She's like, not one, but this is awesome.

[06:22] Jan: There are a few.

[06:23] Norma: Oh, no. And in that time. But they were here, like, for two, for a week.

[06:26] Jan: You may not run into them very often.

[06:28] Norma: Yes, she did not. But she was like, not once yet. But she just loved it. Loved it that she could be. One of the people that we kept encountering everywhere was Michael McCusker. And at that time, and we went in the trolley, there was Michael. We went to the Colombian Theater, and Michael was there, and we went. And all of a sudden, my friend said, it's Michael McCusker. Like the mayor or something. He wanted it to be. It didn't happen, but it was just that kind of a thing that you can talk about. And whatever he saw them, they're like, oh, Irene, Carmen, how are you? And they're like, oh, my God. We have, like, friends with Michael McCusker. And like, yeah, exactly. And it was that kind of embrace, welcoming warmth, that compassion that I suffer. Other people.

[07:22] Jan: I don't think you see a lot of arrogant people here.

[07:25] Norma: No. You know, just when they come to visit from big cities, I have become one of those that I say, oh, you must be from the city because you're not behaving accordingly.

[07:36] Jan: Not around. From around.

[07:37] Norma: You are you? And I have said that to people. Like somebody wrote once in the parking on Safeway, it was mean. And I just look at the person without, and I said, you're not from here, are you? He said, no.

[07:51] Jan: Why?

[07:51] Norma: I said, because we don't talk to each other like that here.

[07:55] Jan: And we don't drive like that.

[07:56] Norma: Oh, we don't drive like that.

[07:58] Jan: We don't cut people off.

[07:59] Norma: We don't talk to each other like that. And I'm like, yeah, you hear, be nice. And I kept walking to go into. I'm like, oh, my God, I'm one of those now. I am.

[08:10] Jan: Well, it needed to be said.

[08:11] Norma: It needed to be said. But I only found kindness and acceptance. You know, as a Latin, that's high praise. Yeah, as a Latinx person that is not that many Latinos that are really involved in the community and volunteering and in positions and boards and, I mean, all these things that I feel that I can almost call. Not almost. It's just I haven't tried people who have said no to me, even when they don't agree with what I have to say, I can say, can I talk to you about this? And they like, okay, they might not be super happy about it, but then we end up having a great conversation and it's a good thing. And you don't find that often. Yeah, that, and I could honestly feel that I can call anybody in a story and say, hey, I have an issue. Can I talk to you? Can you help me or can you guide me? I said, I need guidance. They'd be like, yeah, come on over. Let's talk about it. And it's always a good, honest feedback, but that's a good way to approach.

[09:20] Jan: Things, too, is, you know, can you give me guidance on this? Yeah, that's an excellent way.

[09:26] Norma: Yeah. It's just like, what is it? And when new people have come that I have either been involved in interviews or in gatherings, I always said to them, please don't come here and tell us, you know, what you should do because we're not going to listen. Yeah, that's not the way to approach us. Don't say, well, in Seattle we did this, or in Portland, we don't care. We really don't care. I said, it's a whole different culture in a way. And we base. It's a lot of things that are really based over a beer or a glass of wine or a cocktail. Let's sit down and talk about this. Let's figure this out. And I'm like, I never know that you can resolve so many issues just having a cocktail, you know? And it's how I become involved with a lot of things. Come on, let's just have a cocktail and talk about this stuff.

[10:19] Jan: And like, oh, let's sit side by.

[10:21] Norma: Side by side, face off. Yeah. You know, so it has been the most. My best experience as an adult has been living in Astoria, that it has been like the ultimate. I feel that this is where I finished growing up, where I finished understanding community. This is when I understood community. I didn't get it before.

[10:51] Jan: Well, I think it'd be hard to do in a city. I mean, I know there's pockets in cities, you know, whatever, but even with that, you may not.

[10:58] Norma: And even I tried. I tried in Boston. I was involved in a couple of boards in community related, and it was not like that. It was really. It left me such a bad taste. And I'm like, I'm never doing this. And when I moved here and people were like, you want to be involved with this boy I like. No, I don't want to be involved with anything. No. That is horrible experience. And then little by little by little, I started volunteering with Consejo Hispano. I had a lot of my friends were then board members or a part of it. And when they had events, they will ask me and I will go volunteer. And that's how I started. But the passion for working with Latinos and the passion for really helping it came at the oyster company, because that's when I realized you have all these people that are here, that they just here because they want a better life for their families. They're not here to take anything away from anybody. And it is a very. It's a hardship. You leave your mom, your dad, you don't know if you ever gonna see them. You leave everything that you know, food, everything that you know, just to try to have a better life. And then you don't understand the culture. You don't understand what you need to do. And that's when I realized that I'm like, people really need help understanding certain things.

[12:34] Jan: Yeah.

[12:34] Norma: People need guidance. They need to be told, yeah, don't do it like that. It's just not respectful for the country that is killing you. And it was just that big realization that you're like, hmm, I'm needed, and I can provide it. And of course, by being Puerto Rican, I'm an American citizen by birth, so I felt that I could be a voice because I had no fear.

[13:06] Jan: Right.

[13:07] Norma: And I think that is the number one thing is, like, I never had a fear. I had nothing to worry about because I am an American citizen. And God knows that makes you a little bit cocky about it, you know? Like, yep, I know what I am. So that needs to be protected, and that needs to be dealt with. That, yeah, I could speak up. I could say this, and I had no fear. And I, like, if I can be a voice for somebody that cannot speak for themselves, yeah, I'm gonna go all in. And many times I did, and I would go to the, like they say in Spanish, a la boca de lobo, I will go to the wolf's mouth. You know, I will go to places that I was not really welcoming. Welcomed, but I'm like, no, I want to go. I have something to say, and you just need to hear me. You don't have to like it, but then don't say that. You don't know the information.

[14:09] Jan: Right, right. And if you don't say, who's gonna say, yeah, somebody, you know, if it's not you, then who? And, you know, I mean, somebody has had the boldness to stand up and say, no, this is really what the issues are, you know, and the misunderstandings.

[14:24] Norma: And the misinformation, especially when it comes to fiscal responsibility. People will say, well, you guys don't pay taxes. Yeah, we pay taxes. No, but people are undocumented. No, they could pay taxes. They do. It's called an ITIN individual tax identification number. We help them to obtain that number so they can do their taxes, so they can open a bank account. So we teach them how to be physically responsible with the town, with the city, with the place that they live in, how the kids can go to school. That all needs to be thought. They just don't know that well.

[15:07] Jan: Yeah, and it's not. And because there's a lot of differences in culture or even school or what's expected or how many hours or what.

[15:16] Norma: Ages were everything it needs to be, you know, and my many years ago, you know, 1213 years ago, always my pet peeve was when people say, if you are here, you need to speak English. And I'm like, well, I don't know about that. I said, the US doesn't have an official language. Actually, we don't. I say, you go to Puerto Rico, we have two official languages. I said, it's Spanish and it's English. I said, you have to. But actually, us doesn't have an official language. And when people would say, no, we came here legally, I said, what year did your family come? And there was, well, 19. Yeah, that was the biggest immigration here was no laws. That started in 25 or 26. There was no laws. They just got on the boat and came over.

[16:14] Jan: Yeah.

[16:15] Norma: I said, so we have to be careful when we want them to do things right. But we also know how cumbersome and difficult and the length of time that it takes. I said, but no, you cannot go about it that way. I said, that's not the right thing to do. And it is sometimes just to explain that to people. But I love when people say, well, my family came on 2010. I said, oh, that was the biggest immigration year up to date in the US as a 1910. And they looking at me like, no, no, just google it, google it. It is just that not knowing and trying to be so patriotic. I get it. I'm very patriotic about Astoria. So I can understand having that to want to honor and respect and that, but we can also have to understand what it's around. It's just not only one leader part, it's a lot of things that encompass that situation and. But, yeah, I like to go to La Boca del lobo. I like to go to the wolf mouth. Let me see what they gonna tell me and see if I can come up with something good.

[17:32] Jan: I just came back from North Hollywood at my son's house, you know, and we were doing a lot of construction on his house. And, I mean, I am totally the minority there. Just like, I could probably count on one hand the white people that are there, you know, and. But it isn't the. You know, especially when you go someplace like La or New York or any place, any big city. It's not just a bunch of white people anymore. And it's not just English. There's all over, you know, all kinds of languages.

[18:11] Norma: I have to tell you, I used to get a thrill when I moved here. This is so dumb. I used to get such a thrill to see the Job Corps tongue point, job corps bus go by because that's the only time that it would see a lot of diversity. I'm like, oh, there they come. Oh, let me see. Let me see. Oh, okay. Oh, look. Oh, that one is indian. Oh, that one. It was like, I cannot believe I'm following the Job Corps bus so I could see diversity.

[18:37] Jan: You know, I grew up in Scottsdale, in Arizona, and I wasn't until I went to college that I saw anybody that didn't look like me, other than. I mean, there were a lot of Native Americans in my school, and, you know, that's. We were. Cause we were right next to the reservation and Apache reservation, but other than that, I didn't see anybody. I never seen anybody black until I went to college, and that was in the big city, you know, so it's just.

[19:03] Norma: Yeah, those regions and the history of those regions, and it's just things that you learn about it and, you know, and then you come. But, yeah, I think Astoria has grown a lot in the last 21 years since I've been here.

[19:20] Jan: So you just started working at Consejo Espano again. What is your role there?

[19:24] Norma: Yes, I went back again. I was with them four and a half years, then went to public health, and now I'm back at Consejo. My title, it is deputy director. Our director is Jenny Paul Radway, and she is awesome. This is a woman that I'm so excited to work with because she's so brilliant.

[19:46] Jan: Doesn't that make a difference? To have somebody you work with that's inspiring and you feel like you are made of the same chord.

[19:53] Norma: Exactly. I'm like, oh, my God. Separated at birth, you know, and her english is better than mine, you know, that's the way I see it. And, oh, she's amazing. And I will not lie, Jan. That's the reason I went back, because it was her. When she talked to me about it, it was her. I wanted to work with her. I'm like, yes, this is somebody that I want to follow, I want to support, I want her to guide me, I want to be by her side because she's doing fabulous things. But even though that my job is deputy director, the way that I explain, even to our own staff and to everybody in the community, I'm a community builder. That's what I'm doing right now. I said, I'm not being no deputy of anything. I'm just being a community builder.

[20:43] Jan: Just me with a title. Doesn't mean anything.

[20:46] Norma: Doesn't mean anything. Because for a long time, especially since COVID-19 the organization got a little bit disconnected from the community for a variety of reasons. Like almost all of them, a lot of things. The community have gone through a rebirth now. We had to change everything again. It had some issues when they still kept on trucking, and now it's like, okay, let me show people that this is trustworthy organization and it's worth their consideration and their time. And I have to say thank. And this is what I mean. People trust me. I have gone and no one has said, I want to talk to you or, I don't want to know about your organization. They all say, well, yeah, I don't know much about it, or I had a bad experience. I'm like, well, let's dissect it. Let's see what we can do different. I said, I'm not saying we haven't made mistakes, but let's see how we can work this out. Yeah, you know, so I tell the staff that I have had a lot of coffee in the last five weeks because that's how long. And I have a lot of coffee dates. And I'm like, I hadn't had a lot of coffee, but it is just that having those conversations, and I like, you know, what do you think we are? Who do you think we are? Who do we serve?

[22:06] Jan: Yeah, start out and tell me what your idea is of what we do, and then we can go from there.

[22:11] Norma: And then we can go from there.

[22:12] Jan: And we can clarify.

[22:13] Norma: And it's. And it's interesting. They're like, well, I didn't. I didn't even know you guys were here. I'm like, well, why not? Have you look into. No. Okay. Okay. So you haven't looked, but you just thought I said, okay. I could see how it's because we haven't had a presence in the community, but when it is one director running a big staff and expanding the organization, you know, we have twelve staff, we have all these programs that we didn't have when I was there. I don't have half of the brain that Jenny has. You know, I said, jenny, I'm just the charming one. I'm always teasing her. You the brains that she just laughs. She's like, I'll be quiet because I'm always like, you the brains. I can go out there and talk. But you know, she has done so much.

[23:04] Jan: So tell me about some of the.

[23:05] Norma: Programs that you do right now. We're doing a lot. We still do a tax assistance program together with the federal government is the federal program that they have that we help people. I think our last persons that we doing taxes for it will be next Monday. So it's for free. It's a service for free that we help all members of the community. It is a waiting list because it is, we don't have that many volunteers to do it, but we have the assistance. We have a food box project that is almost coming to the end this last session that we actually give food, culturally appropriate foods to families. Families were getting stuff that they did not know what to do. When you go to a Mac and cheese boxes. Yeah. And they're like, no, we give frijoles and we get them chiles and we gave them, yeah. Masa and oatmeal things that they really could use.

[24:10] Jan: Yeah.

[24:11] Norma: So we started and we got a grant to give them those foods. And we almost to the end of that grant and almost to the end of the food.

[24:20] Jan: Have you worked with the food banks just to. Yeah, I know they pay them that way that, you know, well, I think that are people that are donating to.

[24:28] Norma: The food banks and I honestly don't know the answer if they have done it. But I think that's why they went in our own that we wrote the grant and we did it because it's like, okay, they give in food, let's do our part to help instead of going, yo, instead of saying, you know what you should have here. No, it's like, well, let's do it ourselves. So hopefully by the end of the year we will write that grant again and we can get a renewal and we have educational programs that we're trying to get off the ground. And we want to expand to other counties. You know, we serve over 15,000 people. We get Columbia lot of people. Yeah, we get Columbia county. We got Tillamook County, Clatsop county, and we have Pacific in Washington, southwest Washington. So that way we really try to help a lot of them. And it's okay. Let's see what we're going to do with that. Now with the education programs, we are trying to designed this afterschool program that is very, very close to my heart and also a summer program that we're trying to also get all the teachers trained and hire the right people. And just to get it to go, we have a weekly group of women, Adela Antel Mujeres, I believe is the name. And this is empowering women. They have 1 hour of Zumba exercise every week. And then we have a topic that we approach, and sometimes it's from the harbor about domestic violence or about safety, about all these different. What they want to talk about it is we bring the person to talk to them about. And that's once a week in Seaside, every Thursday night. So we keep trying to sell. What does the community want? The community want also help with OHP. We have somebody that will help you to get your Oregon health plan application in so you could get insurance now that everybody can have insurance. So we will help them with that. So we just. Okay, health insurance. We also give financial literacy classes in some groups. Sometimes they are in, in the Raymond Southman area or they are in Tillamook. We have donating classroom. Let's teach people about money. What do they need to do, how they can do it? What is a checking account? How do you work with that? So the latino community is very used to deal just everything in cash. And sometimes it's like, well, no, let's do something in a little bit.

[27:10] Jan: Paycheck isn't going to be in cash.

[27:11] Norma: Yeah, it's not going to be in cash. So it's just teaching them what is financial issues. What is it that we need to do? Also we bring the mexican consulate. We try to bring the mexican consulate once a year and it could help them in their paperwork. Sometimes they need to renew their passports, their id cards from voting for Mexico or they need to any kind of paperwork. Something that families do here that like to do a lot is to of have the kids have the double citizenship, the dual citizenship. It helps them in case, and let's be honest, in case that they get deported and they are with their child there, then their child can go to school and don't have to start the process. So everybody is like, pre planning. It's a pre plan just in case. Just in case. Which is sad that we have to do all this pre planning for something that may or may not happen, but you don't want to be caught in it and then don't have, really, the resource or the education to take care of that. So it is, you know, it's always something new. We would love to do health workshops. That is something that is in the work plan for the future, hopefully within a year or so, to work, to do more diabetes workshops. That is something very high in Latinos and just going more for the heart.

[28:44] Jan: Going more and then even talking more about nutrition so that you don't end up.

[28:49] Norma: End up in that situation. So it is preventive. It's preventive. So we are trying to really see, what do you guys need? What do you want? How can we help you really achieve that multigenerational wealth? How can I help you to not always have to be in a low paying job? How can we teach it through your kids? Okay, let me push the kids to do a little bit better. And on the same hand, we want them to integrate, but we want them to keep their culture. So in our summer programs, we're trying to do our schooling in the morning, but then in the afternoons, it will be dance, crafts, history, music, everything that it will really give them a connection to the culture, because that's something that we have heard families is like, well, we lose the connection. We lose the connectivity.

[29:51] Jan: We need that.

[29:51] Norma: We losing that connectivity. So how are we going to work with us? We trying to work with that also, guys.

[30:00] Jan: Well, and that's no different than Scandinavians, you know, keeping their culture, you know?

[30:07] Norma: Yeah, exactly. It's just trying to do that culture part, that at least the education part, you know, let's do that education part about it. So, you know, it's some other stuff that you could learn about your. About your family, about the country, of your parents, about your ancestors. Let's just learn about that. And it is just. And let's also celebrate our yearly hispanic heritage celebration is awesome.

[30:35] Jan: Yeah.

[30:36] Norma: You know, they have dancers, music, they teach craft. They teach. To do a word that I always have a problem. I think it's called alle brijes. I'm always having issue. But actually, that is that mystical creature. You ever watch the movie Coco? Yeah, the dog that is in alebre.

[30:59] Jan: Oh, okay.

[30:59] Norma: So that is that mystical figure or animal that is going to help you so it is those little things that you try to teach your kids and the community and the parents also. Do you know about this? Some of them do not know.

[31:15] Jan: But also you just because they're from Mexico, they still have different languages or dialects on things or their own little cultures in different areas as well.

[31:29] Norma: Yeah. Thank you for mentioning that because something that it was to me very hard 1314 years ago is when people will say, oh, but they don't want to learn English. I said, actually they have their own dialect. Then they had to learn Spanish to relate to people in the area. And now you want them to learn English just within the space of couple of years. I always say, and it sounds bad, but I always say, so how many languages do you speak? Usually I would get just English. I said, so don't you know, we cannot be asking for things that we cannot do ourselves.

[32:05] Jan: Yeah, yeah. And it's not going to happen overnight.

[32:07] Norma: It's not going to happen overnight. We got to give them time. And it could be that, like some people that are not good for languages, that doesn't mean that they don't have a right to be better and to really get into progress or deserve a better life and wish for a better life for their kids. Yeah, it's like, no, let's do this. We can, but we have to just to lay down a little bit in the english part, it's like, come on, really?

[32:35] Jan: Do you have any stories of individuals that you've seen an impact with what you've been doing?

[32:45] Norma: Actually an organization that you had the 100 women. And I told a story that now that person, I know the person. And probably when I have to give a report back, I think she's coming with me because I have a young girl and she's married with kids now, two kids. And she was the young girl that at 90 years old she was taking care of her younger siblings. And the way she explains it is like I understood that what my parents were trying to do, they were working, but I was 90 years old. I should not have to be taking care of my younger siblings. And she gives so much grace to her parents. I had a conversation with her last week and she gives Grace, she gives love and empathy to her parents, even though that she realized I didn't have a normal childhood because at nine years old, I should not be taking care of couple of young.

[33:58] Jan: Part of that was normal for that part of the culture because they had to. That was all they could do.

[34:03] Norma: That's all they could do. And she ended up going to college, and she graduated, and she's married. She has two kids, and she heads our education program, you know, and that is her story. And her story is like, if we really put the faith and of our work and our efforts in our youth, it could happen. It could happen. And she is my perfect example that it could happen. Let me guide you about what you need to do. Let me hold you. Let me take you by the hand and show you what you could do.

[34:36] Jan: Mentor.

[34:37] Norma: And then they go and they flourish and they do these awesome things that you're like, oh, my God, what a prideful moment. And I think that is one of our best ones. The other one that I had to go with her mom and sit in the car, the houses that she was not allowed to go in while her mother cleaned those houses. That girl is from here. She went to college, graduated, got her bachelor's, and she works in nonprofit organizations now and has a child of her own and married. And it's just like, you know, this. It could be done. It could have great results. You just need that village.

[35:22] Jan: Yeah. What could we do as part of the village to help? What's the biggest thing that we could do? Or what's a little thing that we could do?

[35:38] Norma: I would say make sure that people know we are around. Whoever. If you can give dollar ten a month, a monthly donation, all you can do is ten. Give to organization $10 a month or give 100, give whatever put. Make sure that organization, like ours, do not disappear. Do not go down. The little thing that you can do is I just give them a weekly thing of $10. You know, it would be $120 a year that I give you. So, you know, that is something. We have events. Be part of those events. Come enjoy it. Laugh and stop by the office every once in a while and say, how you guys doing? Do you need a volunteer for anything? Sign up for next year to do taxes with us. We'll tell you where to get that training and give us. Doesn't have to be every day. It doesn't have to be every week. You could tell us, you know, I'm willing to give you this couple of hours twice a week, and I want to do this. I want to get trained to do these taxes. Tell me, and you just do that. Give me a couple of your hours in the wintertime when you really cannot do much. You know, just give us that so people can. Because you're not only serving the Latinx community, because we serve actually with taxes everywhere that us. So you serve in your own community and a lot of senior citizens and we serve. So it's just like, let's get that. Let's make sure that, you know, if you see us in a store struggling, don't become impatient. You know, just give us that grace that we trying to figure it out. Sometimes we just learning about the money exchange. Sometimes we're just trying to see if it's enough or we're trying to see is this really the product that I have? This is so different to what I'm used to. So just provide that smile, you know, smile at us. It's just that it's so easy and people forget. People see somebody different, and I don't think they mean anything bad by it, but they just like it. So they don't just smile. And hola. Everybody can say hola. Yeah, hola. And just keep walking. You know, you don't have to stop. You don't have to do anything. But just, just to the same way we look at people, just say hi without knowing them, we can say Hola and just keep on walking. And it's just about make everybody feel community. That's how we can make them feel part of that community. Just that smiling, that hola. It will take us a long way. We will go far with that. We sure will.

[38:24] Jan: Yeah. What kind of vision do you have? What's on your dream list?

[38:29] Norma: In my dream list, honestly, I really want to support my executive director, Jenny, in her goals. I just came in into the organization and she has a series of goals about expand programs and making sure people know about us to have a newsletter that people can join and I think also, you know, go to consequent and put your address. Keep me informed because we do some send notices. It's like we want to do that newsletter and keep expanding these youth programs for us. It will be less work on the youth, less work in something that we can still have time to really guide and support to have a better life. I said, daddy will be the one. Just make sure go to consejoispano.org. You say, oh, get me into the newsletter. Give me whenever you have. What are you doing? What is not. And if you have something that you want to do within the next couple of weeks, I do have something that you could do within the next couple of weeks. So we have event. So just make sure that you visit our page. See, oh, what are they working on? What are they doing? What is it? And Jos offer and we will find something that you can help us. Definitely.

[39:59] Jan: Yeah. Okay. Well, Nora, this has been very educational and a pleasure. A real pleasure.

[40:08] Norma: Such a pleasure. Jan. Thank you so much for taking interest not only in me as a latina, in our organization, to be a supporter, to be a voice for us because. And giving us the grace to be here and man. And thank you for being in this. I didn't know you can order days now. I know. I'm gonna call you. Can I order one of those days.

[40:32] Jan: That I could say I'm in charge?

[40:34] Norma: Yeah, you're in charge. Good job in this beautiful day to be here at your home. Thank you.

[40:40] Jan: I'm so glad it worked out.

[40:41] Norma: It worked out awesome. Thank you so much. And keep doing good things for women. We have a lot of great women in our community. Yes, we do. You know, and it's. That is something that I did say the other day. I said, oh, my God. You have Yana in the north coast footwear. You have Jennifer Crockett in the liberty. You have Viviana and class of community actions. Like, you have Jenny, and you have, like, all these women that I'm like, omg, this is a great moment to be involved in the community. It's these powerful women just saying, here.

[41:17] Jan: We come, and everybody works together.

[41:19] Norma: Yes.

[41:20] Jan: Nobody is territorial. It's like, okay, I'm doing this, but how could we help you between what.

[41:27] Norma: We'Re doing, what we're doing? And that's exactly what I love about it, that I have been able to have conversation with all those women that I just mentioned, and they are like, so inboard in collaborating and doing things and doing great things. And I want to be part of it. It's my community.

[41:44] Jan: I know.

[41:45] Norma: And I love it. I love it. I love it. To be part of all these awesome, smart women that want to do great things. Yes.

[41:53] Jan: Thank you.

[41:54] Norma: You're welcome. Thank you.

[41:56] Jan: I hope you enjoyed today's episode. Thanks again for listening. I'm enjoying these conversations with interesting women. I hope you are. Are. Where else are you enjoying meaningful conversations? How about hitting the follow button? Do you have questions or comments on the episodes? Hit me up on my website, janssen.com. I will answer every email. See you again next week.